Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Importance of Silence

Living in New York City, I have come to learn that there is very little that you can't find here, be it good or bad.  But one thing that is very hard to come by is silence.  This has to be one of the noisest places on earth.  But in our modern world, it seems as if people run from silence no matter where they are.  If we are by ourselves, we're talking on our cell phones, plugged into our ipods or ipads, which we can take everywhere.  At home the TV immediately comes on, or the radio or the computer.  We can't go into a store or restaurant without "music" playing (I put the word music in quotes because most of what we hear, IMHO, is no longer music but merely noise).  Waiting in a receptionist room and even in a lot of restaurants, we are usually bombarded with TV, blocking out even our own thoughts. 

I have written previously about the lack of silence in the Novus Ordo Mass and how destructive it is to prayer and communion with our Lord. 

A few weeks ago I posted the Pope's speech which he gave on January 24 and which was for World Communications Day on May 20.  That speech concerned the importance of silence in communication.  This past Wednesday, March 7, the the Holy Father, in his weekly general audience, again talked of the importance of silence, this time specifically on the importance of silence in our relationship with God.  It is a very short speech, but as is true any time the Pope speaks, it is packed with wisdom.

From the Vatican website:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In concluding this series of catecheses on the prayer of Jesus, I would like to speak of the importance of silence in our relationship with God. In Christ’s own life and prayer, and especially in his experience of the Cross, we see a constant interplay of word and silence. Jesus’ mortal silence on the Cross is his final word to the Father, his supreme prayer. To hear God’s word requires the cultivation of outward and inward silence, so that his voice can resound within our hearts and shape our lives. But Jesus teaches us that God also speaks to us, especially at times of difficulty, through his silence, which invites us to deeper faith and trust in his promises. Jesus is our great teacher of prayer; from his prayer we learn to speak with confidence to our heavenly Father as his beloved sons and daughters. In this filial dialogue we are also taught to recognize God’s many gifts and to obey his will, which gives meaning and direction to our lives.
The Pope is basically saying here that unless we can be silent, we will not hear God.  We have to turn off the TV, the internet, the radio, our ipods and ipads, even our own internal noise.  This is especially true in this holy time of Lent, as we go into the spiritual desert with our Lord.  This is one of the reasons why Eucharistic Adoration is so powerful.  We go before the Blessed Sacrament, exposed on the altar and turn off the entire world.  It is just you and the Lord.  And you let him speak to you in that still small voice described in I Kings 19.  Jesus will never push himself on you.  He is always there for you, but you have to turn off the world and listen quietly and intently, just as Elijah did.
9And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
May you find that still small voice and hear our Lord calling to you.

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